New data released by the Treasury Board reveals that nearly 20,000 new federal government jobs were created in 2020, the first year government pandemic measures began devastating the private industry.

As the federal government underwent a spending frenzy, federal employment jumped by over 6%. By the first three months of 2020, there were 319,600 government workers across all departments.

In the fiscal year 2021, Canadian taxpayers were paying $60 billion to cover the salaries of federal employees, up $4.4 billion from the last year. This was on top of the $19.2 billion in benefits for employees the government added last year. 

Three departments accounted for half of the job gains with the Public Health Agency of Canada, with the Employment and Social Development Department and the Canada Revenue Agency seeing the most growth in their workforces.

While the public sector ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic, some private sector industries shrank and lost workers. 

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), 312,825 federal government workers and MPs also received pay raises between 2020 and 2021. 

“Canadians have experienced a tale of two pandemics: one full of private sector pain, the other full of bureaucrat pay increases,” CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano said. 

“We need politicians and bureaucrats to help shoulder the burden because it can’t just be struggling families and businesses forced to pay back the $1-trillion federal debt.”

Statistics Canada data shows that since the beginning of the pandemic 257,400 jobs were added to the economy, 107,000 of which were “public administration” jobs.

Meanwhile, the private sector and those who were self-employed saw a loss of 256,500 jobs since 2019. 

“Not only do taxpayers have to pay for more bureaucrats, we’re also on the hook for government pay raises during the pandemic and that’s not fair,” said Terrazzano.